Rather than being merely a car to suit the lifestyles of most, the new Toyota Corolla GR Sport seeks to turn away from the norm. Though it sports all the merits of the regular four-door Corolla, it doesn’t take long for the GR Sport’s unique qualities to shine on their own.
The Corolla nameplate needs no introduction, of course, having cemented its place in automotive history decades ago, but the newest GR Sport variant introduced in Malaysia - at RM152,800 - introduces an edgier appeal to the consummate sedan.
In its 12th-generation, among its more defining characteristics is its newfound confident handling complemented by an overall more sophisticated ride and comfort characteristics, attributes that are most often mutually exclusive.
The Corolla GR Sport moves the needle closer to what driving enthusiasts prefer. By highlighting the platform’s inherent agility, its tuned suspension and steering make its presence outsized, deftly guiding it through a set of challenging bends in the stride of its GR Sport 18-inch alloy wheels (exclusive for Malaysia) in a Dark Grey Metallic finish.
Up front, its 1.8-litre naturally aspirated 2ZR-FE offers up a balance of performance, efficiency, and refinement, eagerly climbing through the revs up to its 6,400rpm redline. Of course, the driver always has manual override at their discretion via the paddle shifters - a sporty touch- that offers 7 virtual ratios.
Its driver can’t help but crack a smile. After all, this is the kind of sensation that many other cars are simply unable to deliver. Good as the shared TNGA platform is, crossovers and SUVs are always going to be negatively impacted by their higher-riding nature and less-than-optimal centre of gravity, aerodynamics, and balance.
While the SUV, or its modern front-driven city-dwelling evolution, has become the ‘default’ body style for passenger cars under the questionable promise of added versatility, perhaps it’s time to reconsider the four-door sedan for its very comparable all-round ability and dynamic advantages.
That said, as pleasurable as the Corolla GR Sport is to look at, sit in, and drive, the car excels delivering everything the modern driver would ask for in terms of amenities.
With everything from dual-zone climate control, a 12.3-inch driver’s multi-info display, 9-inch infotainment touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, to its 3D-panoramic view monitor and wireless smartphone charger, the Corolla GR Sport does not lack in creature comforts.
There’s also a full gamut of active safety (or ADAS) features under the Toyota Safety Sense suite, which includes Pre-Collision, Lane Departure Alert, Blind Spot Monitoring, Automatic High Beam, Lane Tracing Assist, and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.
The average Malaysian might tend to spend way too much time in traffic, as does much of the
world. Though it can be a soul-crushing routine to have to inch ourselves to our destination instead of enjoying the open road ahead in the car we worked hard for, the Corolla GR Sport takes its characteristic balanced approach to both tackling the more mundane and exciting aspects of driving alike, making the latter something to look forward to.
To sum up this car isn’t to say that it’s without fault, but it is accurate to conclude that the GR Sport’s dynamic enhancements and flair neatly adds to the established talents of the 12th-generation Corolla sedan without inviting any compromise.
It’s one of those cars that deserves to be test driven and experienced first hand to be appreciated, which is of course available at any Toyota showroom nationwide; and a tempting proposition indeed with instalments starting from RM1,589 per month.
Visit Toyota Malaysia’s website for more information.